Grist, July 31, 2012
Probably the most important energy-related vote this November is happening in the swing state of Michigan, where voters will decide whether to substantially boost the state’s renewable energy standard (RES). It’s a big deal for all sorts of reasons, many of which extend beyond the state itself. So let’s walk through the background.
In 2008, Michigan passed a law to require the state’s utilities to generate 10 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2015. It was an extremely cautious RES, full of defensive provisos prohibiting anything that would cost more than coal power or raise electricity rates.
This year, the Michigan Public Service Commission, which oversees compliance, issued an updated report [PDF] on how implementation is going. The top-line conclusion is that implementation is going smoothly and “providers are on pace to hit the 2012 interim targets as well as the 10 percent by 2015 renewable energy standard.” Whee!
The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. Michigan is not limited in its energy resources. In fact, Michigan has enough local renewable energy to power itself three times over:
From ILSR: energy self-reliant states
Hell, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Michigan could power itself with onshore wind alone.